MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Light, Gas and Water is letting customers know it will no longer delay the billing of accounts in exception status.

MLGW is trying to spread the word this week to its customers that it’s changing the delayed billing process, but will this change add to more confusion for some customers?

Yvette W. emailed WREG about what she calls a “ridiculous” light bill. She said it went from $670 in January and now it’s more than $1,300. Doris B. also emailed us saying she’s elderly and can’t afford to pay more than is already paying.

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson said she’s heard from customers too.

“This customer called me in particular about their father’s bill. They were concerned about other people who were seniors, economically disadvantaged and how that would impact them,” Robinson said.

As WREG previously reported, MLGW said the change will mean bills will be sent reflecting an estimated usage for a service where the meter has failed to report any usage at all.

“The estimations will be based on actual usage and we’ll estimate that over a three-month period and give a conservative estimate for the customer because we’re looking to be fair and transparent,” said Timothy Davis, MLGW’s Vice President of Customer Service.

What led to a change was a spike in delayed bills waiting to be processed in December of last year and meter failure can cause an entire bill to be held until the problem is fixed. Most delays are being blamed on failing gas wrigglers and water meter registers.

“We are working with the manufacturers to get the parts that we need so we can get these meters repaired and go back to business as usual,” Davis said.

To date, MLGW says only a small percentage of commercial and residential have been delayed. Councilwoman Robinson agrees and says no zip codes are being targeted, but she does have advice for customers.

“I’m encouraging the citizens of Memphis do budget billing and you don’t have to have that worry and those citizens who need to ask for additional time, now is the time to call,” Robinson said.